Letter to the Editor

On March 20th, 2018, the following letter was published in my city newspaper, the Sun Post in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, USA.  I post it here as an example of an LTE.  Please feel free to use it as an example should you decide to write to your local newspaper about an issue dear to your heart about animals and animal welfare issues!

Letter: Amendment to Farm Bill is overreach

To the Editor:

The King Amendment to the Farm Bill, created by Steve King, R-Iowa, threatens the well-being and safety of consumers, animals and workers, but also robs states of their ability to create and implement sound agricultural laws in the future. It is a federal overreach.

The amendment will override numerous state and local animal protection laws, including in Minnesota – on animal welfare, food safety, labeling, importing, pesticide testing, livestock testing for disease. Labelled the “States Rights Elimination Act,” the amendment says that if any state tolerates the production or sale of a particular agricultural product, no matter how offensive or threatening to public interest, the other 49 must do the same.

State bans on extreme confinement practices for animals, laws protecting horses in slaughter for meat, against the dog and cat meat trade, protections for farm labor contractors, standards for wastewater removal, testing pesticide usage for farm worker safety, and so much more, are all under threat. It also seems to me that since King sits in a position of power as a member of the committee that will be finalizing the Farm Bill, there is a conflict of interest. Members of Congress are supposed to listen to the people.

This amendment comes with such strong opposition. Eighty groups representing consumer, environmental and animal protection, sustainable agriculture and other interests oppose it, including the National Conference of State Legislators, Association of County Executives, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the Consumer Federation of America. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Iowa Farmers Union view this amendment as troublesome.

If the bill looks like King wants it to in the final draft, it will be incredibly devastating for animals and the states that have worked hard to implement effective animal protection laws. One person should not wield this kind of power. 

The far-too-rich and powerful agricultural lobby is willing once again to sacrifice citizens’ welfare and wishes for its own interests and bottom line. Contact your federal legislators to let them know you oppose the King Amendment and the Ag lobby’s shenanigans.

Kathy Dunn

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